BSkyB sees revenue increase during downturn

High-definition growth helping to boost earnings, profits

LONDON -- U.K. satcaster BSkyB clocked up a 10% increase in revenue, hitting £1.4 billion ($2.3 billion) in the three months to Sept. 30.

The uptick in revenues came at the same time as the satcaster posted an increase in customer numbers over the quarter with an additional 94,000 signing up to its satellite servings.

Those additional eyes represent an 8% increase year-on-year after taking into account customer turnover and the broadcaster says its subscriber base now sits at 9.5 million.

The satellite operator's high-definition offerings are proving to be eye-catching with 287,000 households ticking the box for Sky+HD in the three months. Total HD subs now stands at 1.6 million.

Pre-tax profits soared 39.5% to £180 million ($295 million) in the quarter, up from £129 million during the same period last year.

The company posted a 9% rise in adjusted operating profits year on year to £198 million ($325 million) while EBITDA hit £279 million ($458 million), up from £246 million at the same time last year.

The growth seems to support the widely held theory among analysts and media commentators alike that the British public is prepared to spend on entertainment in the home during the economic downturn, rather than going out.

The company also added 100,000 new broadband customers and 132,000 opted to take up its telephony services.

BSkyB chief executive Jermey Darroch said: "Our business has made a good start to our 2010 financial year with another quarter of strong results. In what continues to be a tough economic environment, we have increased the number of customers joining Sky.

But the uptick in profits are mirrored by a rise in marketing costs with BSkyB noting that marketing spend rose £37 million ($61 million) to £245 million ($402 million) year on year in the quarter.

Programming costs also increased hitting £439 million ($721 million) in quarter, up £33 million from this time last year.